The world’s top marketplaces

August 11, 2021 by
Sanne Leenders

Chinese tech giant Alibaba clearly dominates the world of online marketplaces. Even US high-flyer Amazon cannot compete in terms of GMV. Asia is a region in which marketplaces traditionally dominate the e-commerce field and huge populations have an enormous GMV potential.

The biggest marketplaces are in Asia

According to the ecommerceDB, 66% of the cumulated GMV produced by the 100 biggest marketplaces in the world can be attributed to players that are active in Asia. Thus, it is no wonder that Asia’s biggest online marketplaces Taobao and Tmall – both run by Alibaba – lead the ranking of the top five online marketplaces worldwide by GMV. They land before Amazon, JD and eBay.

Taken together, Taobao and Tmall generated more than twice the GMV amount of Amazon. In addition, almost three times the total GMV of in 2020.

Taobao is the strongest marketplace

As mentioned above, Taobao is traditionally the strongest marketplace by Alibaba in terms of total GMV. Moreover, it is still the leader in the global marketplace ranking in 2020. However, a closer look at the GMV development of the two reveals that Tmall – the younger B2B spin-off launched in 2008 – has slowly been closing the GMV gap on its C2C sibling Taobao. Taobao has been online since 2003.

Tmall will overtake Taobao in 2021

Meanwhile in 2014, Taobao still produced twice the GMV amount of Tmall – CNY1.6 trillion vs. CNY0.8 trillion. The margin has become smaller each year, with the two marketplaces only being CNY200 billion apart in 2020. In other words, Taobao only produced around 5% more in GMV in 2020 than Tmall. According to ecommerceDB forecasts, Tmall is going to overtake Taobao in terms of total GMV in 2021 and likely to extend its lead in 2022. The top global online marketplace for the current year is thus likely to be Alibaba’s younger B2B platform Tmall.

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